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Obama To Focus On Nevada After Executive Action On Immigration


Pres. Obama will be in Nevada on Friday to further outline the executive action he's announcing on immigration tonight. Many of those who will be affected by this plan live in Nevada. NPR's Nathan Rott reports from Las Vegas on the reaction there.

NATHAN ROTT, BYLINE: The bell is about to ring here at Del Sol High School in Las Vegas. Yellow buses rumble by, kids casually stroll, and parents drop off their children with that you-better-not-be-late gusto. From outside, Del Sol looks like just about any other high school in the U.S., but Del Sol is not just any other high school. It's a high school that's already played host to Pres. Obama twice, last year to launch a push for immigration changes that would ultimately fall short in Congress making tomorrow's visit politically symbolic, which doesn't matter much to the students.

Are you guys excited the president's going to be here?

ISAIAH MARQUEZ: Yeah, we're excited.

UNIDENTIFIED MAN #1: It would be nice to meet him.

UNIDENTIFIED MAN #2: They don't get to meet him, but we do.


ROTT: That's Isaiah Marquez, a sophomore here with a group of friends, and Marquez has an idea of why the president keeps coming back.

MARQUEZ: There's a lot of, you know, diverse kids here and yeah, it's a big diversity school. That's all what the school's about. That's what the D stands for, diversity.

ROTT: The D stands for diversity?

MARQUEZ: In Del Sol, yes.

ROTT: His friend has a simpler answer.

UNIDENTIFIED MAN #2: It's probably because we're right next to the airport.

ROTT: There may be truth to both, but Marquez is onto something. Nearly two-thirds of Del Sol's student body is Latino. More than a tenth of them are English language learners, which isn't uncommon in Nevada schools. Marco Rauda is with the Ramirez Group, a consulting firm in Las Vegas that deals with immigration.

MARCO RAUDA: Per capita, the state of Nevada has the largest share of undocumented immigrants population-wise, 7.6 percent. You know, not California, Texas, not New Jersey, but Nevada.

ROTT: And that, Rauda says, makes Obama's decision to talk about his immigration plan here tomorrow a big deal for the state's immigrant families and potentially for Latino voters in 2016.

RAUDA: My family's excited and my family's usually a microcosm of the Latino community here in Nevada. I mean, you know, they do everything from construction to going to college. No doctors and lawyers yet, but soon, soon, my friend. We're still an immigrant family. We're still a first-generation family - soon.

ROTT: But not everybody shares their excitement. There are groups that are planning to protest outside of Del Sol High School tomorrow while the president gives his speech and even some in the immigrant community are taking a more tepid approach, Daniel Nino among them. He's looking for work in a Home Depot parking lot down the street from Del Sol.

DANIEL NINO: Something is better than nothing, you know? Whatever comes, we're going to take it and that's it. Maybe tomorrow we'll have a different opinion, you know, but let's see what goes today.

ROTT: Nathan Rott, NPR News, Las Vegas. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.